I want to appreciate you for being the kind of person who wants to take initiative to improve your relationship. It sets you apart from most people, who think that relationships shouldn’t take work, and they either throw in the towel or settle for mediocre.
It takes a person of substantial character to be aware and courageous enough to do something about it. It’s my privilege to interact with you, when we do so.
Now, assuming you thought that was genuine (which it is…) it felt good to be appreciated, didn’t it?
My guess is that one of both of you feel unappreciated.
In the last post, I shared how to step out of fights and connect more deeply, and that’s important. It’s kind of like putting out a fire in your house. Then you need to rebuild the damage.
>>>SHOCKING STATISTIC: Researcher John Gottman discovered over 35 years of researching 1000’s of couples that in order for a relationship to last, there need to be 5 positive interactions for every 1 negative one. If the ratio is less than 5:1, THE RELATIONSHIP WILL PROBABLY END IN DIVORCE!
Consider what the ratio of positive to negative interactions is in your relationship…
So in my experience, here are the steps you need to take to rebuild love, connection, trust, fun, play, passion, and fulfillment in your relationship:
1) Co-create a vision of how you want your relationship to look and feel.
If you don’t know where you’re going, how will you ever get there? You got to where you are through acting out of habit and inclination. It takes a strong vision to change course!
With a shared vision to inspire both of you, it’ll be easier to forge new attitudes and behaviors that’ll transport you on the road to a new life together.
2) Connect about non-logistical things EVERY day.
In order to create that 5:1 ratio of positive: negative experiences, you need to find ways EVERY day to create connection.
Some suggestions are:
- Call each other to share an appreciation, tell a story, sing a song, or tell a joke
- Spend 5 minutes giving/receiving affectionate touch, like a shoulder massage or a caress on the face.
- Create ways to connect before you leave/when you come home, even if it’s just a long hug
- Schedule a date night once/week with JUST the two of you, where you do something fun or relaxing
There are MANY ways to create positive experiences…these add to the emotional bank account so that when you DO fight, you’re less likely to go for the jugular.
3) Shift the context from “me” to “we.”
This doesn’t mean you give up your identity. But a relationship is an interconnected system; research shows that everything you do and feel affects the other person. You can look at it like a 3 legged race. You have to work as a team, or you’re going to fall on your face.
4) Create safety by meeting each other’s attachment needs.
Our bodies haven’t changed very much in 10,000 years, and we are biologically wired to depend on the people closest to us on an emotional level: to know we’re loved, supported, appreciated, and cared about.
Research shows that there’s a part of our brain called the “attachment system” that’s always monitoring the amount of emotional connection we feel to our partner.
This part of our brain is asking the question of our partner, “Are you there for me?”; “Am I really important to you?”; “Is our relationship secure and solid?”
If we feel disconnected or neglected, it triggers the behaviors of being clingy and demanding.
There are simple things you can learn to do to soothe each other’s attachment needs and fears, and create a safe, secure bond so disagreements are easily resolved without fighting.
5) Once you’re CONNECTED, and feel like a team, THEN it’s easy to resolve your issues and differences with win/win agreements, where both people learn to love each other the way they want to receive love.
6) Apologize, forgive past hurts, and rebuild trust.
“I’m sorry” is not enough. In order for your partner to forgive you, you have to get inside their heart, feel their pain, and they have to feel completely understood. Like a broken bone, emotional pain needs to be cared for properly in order to heal.
But like a broken bone, emotional wounds can heal stronger in the broken places! Your ability to apologize and forgive effectively can bring you closer than you have ever been before.
7) Deepen Physical Intimacy/Sexuality.
Now that you’re connected, sex can be a joyful way to celebrate!
We’re taught that better sex is about positions, techniques, toys, and novelty. But actually, when partners are emotionally accessible, responsive, and engaged, sex becomes an ecstatic, playful adventure.
I’ve created a step-by-step curriculum that takes you through all these steps, where I hold your hand down the path from fighting to fulfillment.
You know there’s a lot of good books out there about how to fix your relationship-and I’ve read a lot of them, but that’s like learning to play a sport through reading a book.
Athletes know if they want to win the game, they need a coach to point out their blind spots, someone to provide that live feedback on what they’re doing and help them course correct to be successful.
So if you fear that your partner doesn’t care about your needs; or you’re walking on eggshells; or if one of you gets needy and demanding and the other partner withdraws, or if you’re fearing that one more fight might be the end of your relationship, then make sure you schedule a free “Back To Love” Strategy Call with me as soon as possible, so you can fix your relationship and experience love, intimacy, and passion in 2015!
“Back To Love” Strategy Session
I wish you love, connection, and fulfillment in the new year!